Mexican Carne Asada

Carne Asada Estilo Mexicano

Carne asada means grilled beef in Spanish. The king of cuts for making carne asada is arrachera, or skirt steak. It’s the taste that comes to mind when you think carne asada. Prepared well and it’s juicy and packed with beefy flavor that stands up well to a bold salsa.

Carne Asada with Salsa, Onions and Lime
Mexican Style Carne Asada (Grilled Skirt Steak)

Choose Your Cut of Meat

Our favorite cut of meat for carne asada is skirt steak. You can substitute any cut of beef that is suitable for grilling. Thin cuts are preferable if want authentic Mexican flavor. In Mexico, it is rare to be served a cut of beef that is much thicker than about 1/2″ unless you are at a fancy steakhouse.

How to Make

Start With a Simple Marinade

Limes, garlic and salt for marinade.
Limes, garlic, and salt. Nothing more.

When it comes to the carne asada marinade, keep it simple. You want to enhance the flavor of the beef not cover it up. The lime juice marinade adds a nice tang to the meat and the garlic brings out the beefy flavor.

Squeezing the limes for the marinade.
Squeezing the limes for the marinade.

Squeezing limes is easy if you have a lime squeezer. If you don’t have one, stick a fork into one half of a lime and give it a good twist. This is much easier than trying to crush the lime with your fingers.

Marinating Skirt Steak
Marinating the skirt steak.

Marinate the meat in the refrigerator for 2 hours before grilling. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Time to Grill

You always want to cook on an outdoor grill over mesquite charcoal if you can get it.

Serve spring onions, cebollas cambray, with carne asada. If you don’t have any spring onions, whole grilled white, not yellow, onions are an acceptable substitute. Quarter them when you are ready to serve.

Spring Onions on the Grill
Grilling spring onions to accompany the carne asada.

Move the onions to the side of the grill when you are ready to cook the meat. When they are done the onions will be burned on the outside but sweet and caramelized on the inside.

Putting the skirt steak on the grill
Place the meat over the hottest coals.

You want to place the meat over the hottest coals on the grill to properly cook the meat and to get the nicely charred exterior.

Marinating Skirt Steak on the Grill
Pour the remaining marinade over the meat.

Pour the remaining marinade over the meat to help keep it juicy during cooking.

Flipping skirt steak on the grill
Turn the meat after 7 or 8 minutes.

Turn the meat after about 7 or 8 minutes, even sooner if you have thinner cuts of meat. Be sure that the meat is nicely charred on one side before turning it.


Perfectly Cooked Carne Asada
Perfectly cooked carne asada.

Isn’t that a great looking piece of meat? Let the meat sit for a few minutes before serving so that it reabsorbs the juices. Cut into 4 pieces if you are going to serve it like a steak and cut into thin strips if you are going to serve it in tacos.

Carne Asada Tacos
Carne Asada Tacos

How to Serve

Serve each portion of carne asada with 4 corn or flour tortillas, 2 or 3 grilled spring onions, some smokey grilled tomato salsa, pico de gallo, or salsa verde and half a lime. Serve it as a steak or as tacos. In Cuernavaca, Morelos they serve this cucumber salad on the side.

Enjoy our best carne asada recipe.

As they say in Mexico, provecho!

Carne Asada with Salsa, Onions and Lime
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3.56 from 9 votes

Mexican Carne Asada Recipe

Authentic Mexican Carne Asada –  Grilled steak, arrachera, or skirt, which has been marinated with lime and garlic and then quickly cooked over high heat served with a stack of hot tortillas and a bold salsa.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Authentic Carne Asada, Carne Asada, How to Make Carne Asada
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 939kcal
Author Douglas Cullen


  • 2 pounds skirt steak
  • 10 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large bunch of spring onions 8 to 12
  • 16 corn or flour tortillas


  • Start with a small bowl
  • Mince the garlic and add to the bowl
  • Squeeze the juice from 8 limes into the bowl
  • Add the salt and mix with a fork
  • Trim the meat of any excess silver membrane
  • Place the skirt steak in a tray and pour half the marinade over it
  • Flip the skirt and pour the other half of the marinade over it
  • Let the meat marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator
  • Bring the meat to room temperature before grilling
  • Once the meat is marinated, start the charcoal
  • When the coals are at their hottest grill the meat for about 7 or 8 minutes on each side
  • Rest the meat for a few minutes before serving
  • Once the coals are going place the spring onions on the grill.
  • Move them to the side of the grill when you are ready to cook the meat.


  • You can substitute any type of beef that is good for grilling. Preferably thinner cuts.


Serving: 1/4 pound | Calories: 939kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 86g | Fat: 51g | Cholesterol: 309mg | Sodium: 620mg | Sugar: 2g

More Mexican Beef Recipes

7 comments… add one
  • And some nopales asados on the side are delicious too! :)

  • Lindsay

    Can the steak be marinated overnight?

  • Lee

    Can someone please tell me what the side dishes are that are photographed with the steak?

  • Wistaria

    This was simple and excellent. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Diann Slade

    This was excellent, will definitely use more of your recipes.

  • xnx

    I’m looking to spike my journalistic career and thought that a blog might be a good idea. But I also know that there are ways to set up a paypal account attached to the blog for payment to read it or donate. I guess I was inspired by the movie Julia and Julie and I want to do it on my own. Any ideas on how to get started?.

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